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What are the best cheap Samsung phones? We tested all of them, here's our top 5
When it comes to great budget phones, Samsung is the undisputable king. When considering which cheap Samsung phone to buy, you have to keep a few things in mind:
- How far can you stretch your budget?
- Is 5G available in your region? Do you need the extra speed?
- Will you buy unlocked or via a carrier?
The good news here is that no matter what your needs are, there’s an affordable Samsung phone out there for you. To help you choose, we’ve tested every model currently sold and selected the four best cheap Samsung phones you can buy. Check out our buyer’s guide if you’re not sure what to look for, or just keep reading to see our top pick. Looking for a cheap phone and willing to venture outside of Samsung’s ecosystem? We have a guide for the best cheap phones that you should check out.
The Galaxy A54 5G is the best cheap Samsung you can get
Although it will stretch your budget a bit at $450, the Galaxy A54 5G is our pick for the best budget Samsung phone out there. We found it to be one of the most well-rounded smartphones you can buy, regardless of price. Plus, you’re getting Samsung’s unbeatable guarantee of five years of security updates, which means this phone will last you for years to come.
The three-camera setup on the A54 5G really impressed us, although the main shooter is undoubtedly the star of the show. It provided crisp, sharp photos in our testing, although Samsung’s tendency to oversaturate colors has made an unfortunate return. The ultrawide and macro lenses aren’t the most useful additions, but they do add a little extra versatility.
Battery life is also great, lasting about a day and a half in our testing. The relatively quick 25W charging also topped off the phone in just 85 minutes. Unfortunately, there’s no charger included in the box, so you’ll have to find a compatible model if you don’t already have a USB-C charger at home. Also, those 25W speeds are only for USB Power Delivery PPS Chargers, with unsupported models limited to 15W. There’s also no wireless charging, but that’s not too surprising at this price point.
The Galaxy A54 5G is one of the most well-rounded phones you can buy — regardless of price.
Another thing we loved about the A54 5G is the screen. It’s a crisp, speedy 120Hz Super AMOLED display with options to reduce refresh rates to further boost battery life. It was fully visible in bright daylight, which is something we can’t say for the rest of the phones on the list. In fact, this is the best display that we’ve tested in this price range, even outside of Samsung’s affordable phone lineup.
The Galaxy A54 5G is powered by an Exynos 1380, which we found to be fine for daily tasks, if a bit underpowered compared to more expensive Samsung phones. It also features 128GB of storage, which we think is perfect for most users, plus the option to increase that with a simple microSD card. This model also features 5G, which is a great way to futureproof your device for network upgrades in your local area.
What makes it stand out
- Versatile cameras: A powerful main camera backed up by ultrawide and macro lenses make this a complete camera package.
- Beautiful display: The 120Hz Super AMOLED is bright, crisp, and speedy in all situations.
- Fantastic battery life: The 5,000mAh battery lasts for nearly two days, and charges back up quickly.
- Solid storage: 128GB is enough to store photos and apps for most people, and the microSD card slot makes it easy to upgrade.
- 5G: Not every region has access to the latest mobile networks, but this phone is ready for the future.
The Galaxy A23 5G offers incredible value for the price
While we were very impressed by the breadth of features offered by the Galaxy A54 5G, the Galaxy A23 5G hits a very attractive price point. It makes some serious concessions, but if you’re on a slightly tighter budget it hits a really nice middle ground between mid-range and budget devices.
In our testing, we found the A23 5G to check all the right boxes for a cheap Samsung phone: solid performance, a great display, decent cameras, good battery life, and an unbeatable commitment to updates. That last one is critical since it means that the Galaxy A23 5G will last for years to come, and it’s unlikely to break before that due to the strong Gorilla Glass 5 build.
For simple social media scrolling and daily use, this thing is extremely capable. We got two and a half days of battery life in our testing, which more powerful devices like the Galaxy S23 lineup just can’t match. Even better, a 25W fast charger topped off the device in just 80 minutes in our charging test, although you’ll have to buy the charger separately.
At the end of the day, the Galaxy A23 5G offers great value for around $300 ($299 at Amazon). If you’re living in the US, there really isn’t much competition around this price point outside of the Motorola Moto G Power 5G ($249 at Amazon) and Nord N30 ($299 at Amazon), and none of the alternatives offer the same value and longevity.
What makes it stand out
- Solid performance: It won’t win any speed tests, but for daily use this phone gets it done.
- Battery life: For simple daily use, this device can last for two and a half days on a single charge.
- Value: This phone hits the perfect spot between mid-range and truly budget devices.
The Galaxy S23 FE is (almost) a flagship
The Fan Edition models are back with the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE, providing a near-flagship experience for significantly less money. It’s still the most expensive phone on this list at $600, but if you want something a bit more comprehensive, this is it.
The phone itself is eerily similar to Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S23 lineup on the outside, with a bright 6.4-inch 120Hz display and a premium feel. Some of the materials used fit more in the cheap Samsung phone category, such as the Gorilla Glass 5 construction. This might not hold up to as much roughhousing as its flagship siblings, but it’s still much stronger than most affordable Samsung devices.
Our full review is still pending, but our early impressions are good. The camera setup will be a top performer in this price range, and like all the Samsung devices on the list, it should last for years thanks to the company’s update commitment.
Our biggest concern is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor used in the US variant. This is a flagship processor from 2021, and it’s plenty powerful, but it also suffered from heating and battery issues. In other words, this is the most powerful cheap Samsung phone you can buy, but don’t expect the battery to last for nearly as long as anything in the A-series lineup.
Still, if you can afford to spend a bit more (or score a carrier deal), the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE is a great upper mid-range pick.
What makes it stand out
- Premium feel: The Galaxy S23 FE is (almost) every bit as premium as its flagship siblings.
- Great cameras: One area where the S23 FE doesn’t make concessions is cameras, with great lenses and processing.
- Large screen: The 6.4-inch 120Hz display is bright and brilliant.
The Galaxy A14 5G is cheap or free with carriers
We don’t think the Galaxy A14 5G is the most impressive cheap Samsung phone out there, but if you can get it through a carrier, it can easily be the cheapest. This phone is frequently available for huge discounts (or free) on contract in the US, and despite its fairly standard design, we think it’s a pretty good budget buy.
The phone itself performed admirably in our testing. The main camera gave solid results in good lighting, performance was great for everyday use, and battery life topped out at two full days. However, the big intangible advantage here is Samsung’s commitment to updates: this phone will continue to receive security updates for five years, and Android version updates for two years. At this price, that’s unheard of outside of Samsung’s lineup.
As one of the cheapest Samsung phones you can buy, it does make some sacrifices, and those are mostly in the build materials and speaker quality. You can get around this by buying a case and using headphones (surprise, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack). There’s also a paltry 64GB of storage, but that’s easily remedied thanks to expandable storage.
Ultimately, this is a cheap Samsung phone that cuts the right corners to keep the price under $200. Even better, you can get it for free or cheap via carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. We think that’s a fantastic deal, and this device is more than capable for the vast majority of users. It’s worth mentioning that there’s an LTE version of the Galaxy A14 available in some regions for slightly less, but we think the 5G version is a better overall buy.
What makes it stand out
- Price: It’s affordable to buy unlocked, but you can get it for free or nearly free via carriers in the US.
- Battery life: We got a full two days of battery life, although there’s no charger in the box.
- Camera performance: The main camera is solid in good lighting, providing some good shots in our testing.
The Galaxy A03s is the cheapest Samsung phone we recommend
We won’t lie, the Galaxy A03s is a really basic phone. However, if you’re looking for a cheap Samsung phone that can still hold up in daily use, it’s the absolute cheapest phone we recommend. You’ll have to temper your expectations since it’s under $200, but it’s still capable of getting the job done.
In our testing we found performance and build quality to be a bit lacking, but considering the price, these are the compromises you’ll have to make. On the plus side, the relatively weak processor affords great battery life — two days of moderate use — although once again there’s no charger in the box.
Ultimately, what earns this phone our recommendation is Samsung’s commitment to updates, which is the same five-year guarantee as its flagship phones, some of which cost ten times as much as this one. Granted you’ll probably want to upgrade before then. This phone can be a great first smartphone for just about anyone, and it’s a solid introduction to One UI and Samsung’s Android ecosystem.
What makes it stand out
- Affordability: This is one of the cheapest Samsung phones you can get in the US.
- Battery life: The beefy 5,000mAh battery lasts for two days of moderate use.
- Longevity: Like all Samsung devices, this phone will receive five years of support, although you’ll probably upgrade before then.
What to look for in a cheap Samsung phone
Cheap Samsung phones are among the best budget handsets you can buy, but there are a few things you should consider to find the right device for you:
Value over price
It can be tempting to buy a phone based exclusively on the price tag, but we recommend thinking about the overall value a device represents instead. If a phone costs $100 more but will last a few years longer, it’s a better deal. This can come in the form of better build quality to resist breaking or a better powerful processor to run more demanding apps in the future.
5G or not 5G
Although most of the devices we’ve listed above support a 5G connection, you may not need it depending on your local area and use cases. If you don’t use data much outside of your home or live in a rural area, you can probably save a little money and get an LTE-only phone.
Unlocked vs carrier
In the US, much of the mobile phone market works via carriers. Depending on which company you have your phone plan with, you may be able to get huge deals on Samsung phones. This is true both for flagship devices like the S22 lineup and budget devices in the A series, some of which are available for free on contract.
One camera to rule them all
When it comes to budget smartphones, you should generally ignore any extra camera lenses. In most cases, the primary shooter is the only one that consistently provides results, with low-resolution ultrawide and macro cameras added as an afterthought. Of course, if cameras aren’t important to you, this won’t be an issue.
Not at all! In fact, Samsung makes some of the best budget devices on the market, especially in the US.
Although the hardware is typically good, the real value of Samsung devices is in the software. It’s highly customizable and comes with an industry-leading five years of updates. That said, if you have more to spend we highly recommend considering a Samsung flagship too.
If you’re in the US, the best way to get cheap Samsung phones is through a carrier. You may be able to get good deals secondhand, but this can be risky, especially in this price range. Also check out our best smartphone deals page for more great deals.